Despite growing international awareness, the tuberculosis (TB) disease burden suffered by young children is underappreciated. This lack of recognition is in part due to difficulties establishing an accurate diagnosis, poor case ascertainment and incomplete reporting.
TB cases are highly concentrated in areas affected by poverty and social disruption, but are increasingly being seen in non-endemic areas due to international travel, population migration and refugee resettlement. TB is now recognized as a major contributor to mortality in children under 5 years old in TB endemic areas. According to conservative World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, greater than 500,000 children developed TB during 2013, and TB disease caused more than 70,000 deaths.
Our research cover a broad range of topics including epidemiological surveillance and disease burden estimates, clinical disease description and treatment options. We also investigate the molecular genetics of the bacterial cause of TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as well as its evolution and spread.
The Childhood Tuberculosis research group is led by Professor Ben Marais.